MADELINE MYERS

MSW Intern

Does your relationship have these red flags?

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, and we want to use this time to talk about healthy relationships with you all. It can be hard to know what you want your relationship to look like, especially if it’s your first relationship or if you feel like you’ve seen more bad relationships than good ones in your life. Below are five questions to ask yourself about you and your partner to help identify any red flags you might find in your relationship!

1. How do you feel when you are with them? Are you happy, excited, comfortable, safe, or cared for? Or are you sad, nervous, scared, or worried? Maybe some of both? Think of a few words you would use to describe how you feel around them, listen to yourself, and trust what you hear!

2. Is the relationship protective or controlling? It can be easy to confuse these two. Protection comes from a place of care for your wellbeing, but control comes from a place of their own insecurities, distrust, or disrespect towards you. If you ask them to stop doing or saying something, how do they respond? Do they listen or get defensive?

3. Is jealousy healthy? Many people think that jealousy is a good thing in relationships because we want to feel special to our partner; however, jealousy, especially if it comes with accusations of cheating, being upset about you seeing your friends, or going through your phone or social media, is a very controlling pattern, which is a red flag!

4. Are you pressured or threatened by them? Pressuring someone into doing something, whether by asking over and over, emotionally manipulating you, or making threats, is never ok. If they don’t listen to your boundaries, they are not safe. Also, using threats to get their way, whether or not they follow through with them, is never ok.

5. What if your friend was in this relationship? Try putting someone else in your shoes: if your best friend, sibling, or other loved one was in a relationship like yours, would you like how they are treated? Would you like their partner? Would you be worried for them? Sometimes we have higher standards for our friends than ourselves, but part of self-care and self-love is valuing yourself enough to stand up for yourself as much as for your loved ones.

How did your relationship do? Do you feel more secure, have some questions, or feel concerned? If you think you might be in an unhealthy relationship, know that it’s not your fault! We suggest telling someone about it, if it’s a friend, family member, teacher, counselor, or whoever you would feel comfortable talking with about your concerns. You can always come on our chat to talk with a therapist, or schedule an appointment for therapy if you’d like to spend time working on your relationship or anything else going on in your life.